A One-on-One Approach to School Success
At the new Fusion Academy Ardmore, the curriculum really is unique to every student.
Karen McIntyre’s two sons came to Fusion Academy for different reasons, but both found success with the school’s innovative, one-on-one format.
Her older son, Jack, was a top-level competitive swimmer whose schedule clashed with the attendance policies of his public high school. Her younger son, Ethan, struggled in a traditional setting and needed a more tailored approach.
McIntyre, who lives in West Windsor, New Jersey, turned to the then-new Fusion Academy in Princeton for a solution.
At Fusion, McIntyre said, Jack was able to tailor his schedule so he could start classes right after his morning training, and finish in time to rest before a second practice session.
“He was teenager at this point, and I worried he wouldn’t like it because he would wonder, ‘What would my friends think if I did something like this?’’’ McIntyre said. “Much to our surprise, he said, ‘I love this.’’’
Jack finished high school at Fusion and is on a swimming scholarship at N. C. State University. Ethan started in sixth grade and is now a thriving 10th grader at Fusion.
The McIntyre boys’ experience shows the breadth of the students Fusion attracts, said Jessica Eckert, the Head of School at the new Fusion Academy Ardmore. The campus opened its doors earlier this month and will begin classes April 2.
Fusion, an independent middle and high school, encourages students to master a subject area. That helps kids with all different types of learning styles and abilities, without compromising the experience for any student.
“They really get the kids immersed in the subject and they move on when they’ve mastered the subject,” McIntyre said. “That really appealed to us.”
All kinds of students come to Fusion, from gifted learners to a wide variety of kids who just need something different. The school’s philosophy means it can adapt to all of them, Eckert said.
“Our teachers are experts in their field, and we intentionally hire teachers who love to be flexible and creative and know their areas so well that they really can be creative,” Eckert said. “We have the ability to go deeper and more thoroughly with every student than anyone ever thought possible.”
While the lessons are individual, Fusion isn’t solitary. The campuses are small — the size is capped around 75 students, Eckert said — and kids have plenty of time to socialize outside of class. They eat lunch together, go on Friday excursions together, and get the time with friends that middle and high schoolers need.
That includes the “homework cafe,” where work that would traditionally be sent home is done during school time.
For Ethan McIntyre, the social aspect has been great, his mother said, because he can opt out if he needs to.
“There was socializing but if Ethan was feeling overwhelmed, he could take a step back from it,” McIntyre said.
The individually tailored curriculum lets Ethan’s teachers to get creative — physically and intellectually.
“With one-on-one, you can do that,” McIntyre said. “You can stop, you can change pace, you can change tactics, you can go out for a walk. It’s just conducive to learning.”
His whole outlook on school has changed since he’s been at Fusion, she said.
“It was like night and day,” McIntyre said. “He went from feeling like he was being punished all the time … to being happy, being delighted to go to school and really learning a lot and really fulfilling the potential we knew he had in him.”
Jack is on the dean’s list and excelling as a collegiate swimmer. Both McIntyres are model Fusion Academy kids.
For students like them, Eckert said, Fusion is a huge advantage over other schools.
“They’ll have the opportunity to learn more than they ever could in a traditional classroom,” she said. “Just because something is different doesn’t mean it’s not something better.”
Want to know more about Fusion’s unique curriculum? Join us for a special event March 6 at the National Constitution Center, or contact us for more information and to schedule a tour.
Lead photograph courtesy of Fusion Academy Ardmore.